A community is only as strong as the people who contribute to it. While a community can be a wonderful place to turn to for support, encouragement and even entertainment from like minded people who understand your struggles as well as your successes, it cannot do this alone. It is so important to remember that every member of the community needs to do their part, giving back just as much, if not more, than they take. To steal the words from Mark, owner of Black Birch Restaurant, we expect the community to support us, so we’re going to support it. Which, with a motto like that, it’s no surprise that is exactly what Black Birch Restaurant does.
Nestled among the stunning rolling hills of the escarpment, on Hockley road directly across from the Hockley Valley Nature Reserve (part of the Bruce Trail), Black Birch Restaurant has been providing the community with an accessible, safe dining experience that offers a delicious alternative to hikers, travelers and most importantly locals looking for something other than a quick bite “coffee shop” experience.
Though it’s more than just their food that they provide to the community. As a fixture in the area for thirteen years, Black Birch Restaurant has made it their mission to ensure that they are truly a part of their community, providing jobs, and support to any other locals who might need it.
For anyone looking to get their start in, or to continue to explore their involvement in the restaurant industry, Black Birch Restaurant has been a reliable source of local employment since the beginning. At least three of their wait staff have been with them since the beginning. One in particular (preferring to be referred to by Mark as his most experienced employee, not his oldest) came in answering the very first advertisement that Mark put up for help, essentially informing them that she was going to work there – which she has now been doing for the thirteen years!
Though it’s not just established staff that they help, but also young people looking for their first job. In fact, this might be one area which they support more than any other. At the very least, Mark told us one of his favourite things is to take on a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old as a dishwasher – which as many of us know is not on the list of ‘fun’ or ‘easy’ jobs – and see them grow, realizing that they are an important part of the team – that their job matters to the running of the restaurant. With only 12 employees, Mark is hiring people because he needs them, therefore every job is important.
He’s even had a handful of employees return to the Black Birch Restaurant as customers, to enjoy a meal and to tell him what an impact their time at the Black Birch had on them – so they must be doing something right. One former employee even insisted that Mark needed to come see them at their new job in order to see how much better their work ethic is now.
Though it’s more than just jobs that Black Birch Restaurant provides for the community; it only takes one look at the brands on their menu to see that Black Birch does what it can to support other local businesses as well. From wine, beer and even spirits and liquor, all of the local options that are available to them they take. When they first opened, many of their initial appliances were bought from an Orangeville company. Unfortunately, when they had to replace these appliances recently, that company was no longer in business but they still stayed somewhat “local” but turning to a Canadian company based out of British Columbia. Showing, yet again, the lengths that they will go to ensure that they are doing everything they can to support the community that they hope will support them when they need it.
Whether it’s through the jobs they create, the business they support or simply the little things that they do through charities and showcasing local products and cards at the front of their establishment, Black Birch Restaurant has made an effort to support the community around them. So, if you’re looking for a safe and experienced locale to visit on your Sunday drive, take a turn down Hockley road and see the Black Birch Restaurant for yourself.
WRITTEN BY: JILLIAN KENT | PHOTOGRAPHY: CORY BRUYEA | RESOURCES: BLACK BIRCH RESTAURANT, HOCKLEY VALLEY